13
Jun
05

Standing Alone

There are a thousand things wrong with the Patriot Act. Being patted down by complete strangers at airport security is one of them. Do we really live in a society that is so unsafe that we need to be felt-up in order to get on a plane? Even more importantly, when these kinds of things happen, why do we just “lube up and bend over” as some would say? I know that’s a little crass, but this Law is an obscene violation of our Civil Rights and no one is saying a word. Why are we allowing this to happen? The President has been petitioning Congress to renew the Patriot Act. Why, in a country of free Americans, are we not protesting? There is no rally in the streets like there is in other countries when so many people disagree. Do we feel above all that? Are we pretending that we our leaders are more than human and do not need our guidance? Have we forgotten that our country is “for, of, and by the people”? WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE? Our complacency is going to kill us eventually, and most of us are just sitting back and watching it happen.

It is the fault of the average American that we have a corrupt and immobile government because we allow it to exist. We overlook the indiscretion of politicians. We expect our news media to be contextually accurate and non-biased. Many Americans feel they are not represented and they are not wrong, but without more involvement by average Americans we cannot expect a higher standard of government.

The Majority Rule system is not working but those in power see no reason to change it. They’re paid well whether the system works or not. More and more people are choosing to ignore their government. This will allow the system to get worse until someone cries “REVOLUTION”, and then we’ll all be damned. Rules, both spoken and unspoken are being imposed on those who disagree with our government. The definition of freedom has been twisted and redefined by lesser men than our Forefathers had hoped.

We cannot give up control. More importantly, we cannot allow ourselves to become the tyranny we escaped when our Forefathers wrote the Declaration of independence. We must take a stand, any stand, and fight, before our countrymen start fleeing America for a place where they can remember their dreams.

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21 Responses to “Standing Alone”


  1. 1 Saur♥Kraut
    June 13, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    Polanco,

    You are right, there is every reason to be worried. I believe that both sides of the aisle are concerned about The Patriot Act. However, there are reasons that no one is loudly objecting. One, because the press is quiet about it. Two, the people are apathetic. Three, our representatives feel it’s in their best interest to placate Bush and his cronies, since they are not pressured from any other side but that one.

    But you are incorrect about one thing: Sadly, this is majority rule. The majority have abdicated their rights to representatives that don’t have their best interests at heart.

    The only way it will change is if the press begins to tell it like it is, if there is a strong grass-roots organization that can bring pressure to bear from the other side, and if the people actually see what rights they could potentially lose if the Patriot Act is kept in place.

  2. 2 Anonymous
    June 13, 2005 at 5:55 pm

    While I do not agree with the Patriot Act, Polanco, I think that pat-downs at airports are a bad way to attack it. I, personally, do not mind the pat-downs, if it means a safer environment in the air. Given the simple ways one can disrupt a flight, a pat-down is OK by me.

    I am more concerned with the more insidious and less-obvious aspects of the PA.

  3. 3 Saur♥Kraut
    June 13, 2005 at 6:52 pm

    I don’t think it’s whether we mind something or not. I don’t mind it either, and I agree it makes us safer. In fact, the Patriot Act currently does seem to make it safer for us over all. So we give up a little technical freedom for safety, that’s a fair exchange – right?

    Wrong.

    Because having such an act in place is like leaving the front door wide open at night. Maybe no one will take advantage of that, but probably some one will.

    The Patriot Act opens it up for a potentially fascist government (such as the Nazis) to legally assume power and commit atrocities – all with the government’s rubber stamp of approval.

    The Patriot Act didn’t have to be as far-reaching as it is. In fact, we don’t need it to screen airplane passengers. Air plane companies are private, and they can certainly choose to screen all their passengers without government intervention.

  4. 4 Anonymous
    June 13, 2005 at 10:20 pm

    Unfortunately, because of the huge government subsidies airlines get to fly to small markets, the government gets to put their hands in there. The other option is to force smaller markets to fend for themselves.

  5. 5 United We Lay
    June 14, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    WHa about all the other things the Patriot Act allows? They can get video rental records, library records, and a plethora (right, saur?) or other personal things. Is tthat right? How much of our private lives should the goventment have access to, and why aren’t we complaining about it?

  6. 6 Underground Logician
    June 14, 2005 at 6:17 pm

    Great topic, PC!!

    I haven’t flown since the “Pat-down Act,” but I am convinced that we do live in a different world since 9/11. Sadly, and out of necessity, we need to screen passenger on airplanes. Prior to 9/11, it was inconceivable that a plane could be used as a bomb, but there are very creative terrorists out their who are trying to think of very creative ways to kill lots and lots of Americans.

    What roils me to no end is that there is this fear to upset or anger certain ethnicities who’s extreme elements have pledged their allegiance to our death, say, Saudis, Iranians, Jordanians, Syrians, etc. Why are there airport policies that allow a maximum five Arab people to be searched per airplane? Are they afraid to upset these people? How about upsetting brown-haired Germanic types who are 6’6′ and weigh 290? Why screen every blonde haired blue-eyed female who weighs 115 lbs and allow through dark-haired Muslims? Are they afraid to be called profilers? I thought it was the extreme Islamic persuasion that we’re supposed to capture at the airports. This STUPIDITY must stop!

    I get a similar internal reaction when I buy beer a the local Pick n Save grocery store. I, a 47 year old man, who looks every bit the 47, must show my I.D. to the clerk to buy beer. TOTALLY frosts my cookies, because I know it’s not because of my great looks! *LOL*
    They’re trying to be “fair.” They’re also afraid of lawsuits, the cowards. So punish everyone so that they can catch the few vermin violators.

    So this Patriot Act has its flaws which totally upset me, but the greatest one is to allow only a maximum of 5 people of Arab descent to be searched. That is just utterely moronic.

  7. 7 Saur♥Kraut
    June 14, 2005 at 6:33 pm

    Polanco, I agree both with your post and your grammar. *g*

    Underground, I agree with you completely. But I must add that I am about 10 years younger than you are, and *I* don’t get carded. And I’m considered to look younger than I am! So don’t be too hard on yourself – you must look like a babe in the woods.

  8. 8 The Zombieslayer
    June 14, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    I’m with you 100% here. We’ve given up freedom for “security.” It’s like the bumper sticker that says “do you feel safer now that your freedoms are gone?”

    I hate being touched by someone I don’t know, so I won’t fly on planes anymore. Frankly, I hate the TSA. They’re a bunch of crooks and morons on top of that. They brag about the stuff they confiscate.

  9. 9 Saur♥Kraut
    June 14, 2005 at 8:16 pm

    Very true. I have some friends who are uneducated but well-intentioned, who feel this unreasoning faith in the government. Of course, they’ve probably never read 1984.

    One of them said to me “Well, isn’t it better to know that your family is safer this way? I’d rather give up some freedoms than risk my kids’ lives.”

    I agree. I’d do anything for my kids, and I’d give up anything for them. But if we believe that there are certain inalienable rights and freedoms (as it says in our Constitution) then we can’t give them up, can we?

    Let me add that if we give up freedom for increased safety now, the very freedoms we give up may endanger our kids and their kids later on.

    Plus, as long as Bush allows the borders to be as porous as they are, it is very easy for terrorists to simply walk across the border. And if someone is motivated enough to destroy, the Patriot Act will make no difference at all.

    That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be more careful. And I think we should be screening passengers and luggage in the airports. But that’s not for the Feds to decide.

    And it’s not right that they can track cars from toll booth to toll booth along the highways. I may not be a criminal, but I cringe at the thought that some petty bureaucrat could be watching my every move. Could be prying into my personal life. Could be calling out the military or the police to harass me or the ones I love because some day maybe we won’t be the right ‘profile’.

    I do believe in racial profiling, don’t get me wrong. If you’re of arabic descent, it’s a better chance that you’re a disgruntled muslim than if you’re a scandinavian. But there are also people here that may look the part but have nothing to do with terrorism.

    It would be easily solved in everyone in the government just used common sense. Sadly, common sense is in short supply.

  10. 10 Anonymous
    June 14, 2005 at 9:03 pm

    Sauerkraut–It seems like you have perhaps read 1984 TOO closely:) Seriously, though, we all accept a certain level of intrusion from the government in order to maintain order. You make the suggestion to use “common sense” but I think that gets to the heart of the matter. Whose common sense? Many would argue that what is going on now is simply common sense. I think that writing our representatives in Congress and telling them what we think is important, but it is also important to offer alternatives to the Patriot Act. I work for a gov’t contractor (beltway bandit!) and I am sure there are many people out there, complaining about the Patriot Act and TSA, who have never actually read the PA cover to cover. It is not simply a piece of legislation; rather creates some laws and amends others. I happen to agree with some sections and not others. Rather than simply attacking the PA as one piece, it might be more interesting to see what everybody finds particularly offensive and examine the text. For example, I don’t like many sections of Title II, because I see it as an unnecessary expansion of the government’s right to listen in without cause, but I do like Title VI as it better provides for the families of officers, etc. Not to push the string one way or the other, but perhaps this would get a good dialogue going on what really bothers us all. Then, when we write/call our reps, we will be better prepared to argue/state our cases. It may be a little longer, but we can feed off of each other, pinging a few arguments to see what really works, and get to the heart of our frustration. I have posted here under anon quite often because I find the discourse to be a step above other blogs, and I think that we could embrace this challenge. Really examine the act and then discuss it with each other (and our friends coworkers, etc) rather than simply speaking about one aspect. Not to mention the fact that airlines have ALWAYS searched–or had the right to search–passengers. The Dutch and British were doing this same intrusive pat-down (sometimes) in the 80s when hijacking was back in vogue. I remember the Dutch Marines in the airports with the MP-5s on their shoulders.

    So, whaddya say?

  11. 11 Underground Logician
    June 14, 2005 at 10:56 pm

    Saurkraut:

    A babe in the Woods? *LOL*

    Yeah, I look like an 18 year old with an enormous amount of mileage!

    LOL!

  12. 12 United We Lay
    June 14, 2005 at 11:07 pm

    Wow, you guys are getting into a great discussion. And thanks for the compliment, Anon.

    I think it’s true, a lot of people haven’t read it, but a lot of them don’t know how to get access to it, either. Like so many other laws, it is written in legal speak, some say intentionally, to make it difficult to understand. Is it possible that we’re not meant to undertsand the laws entirely, or am I just being a little paranoid.

  13. 13 Saur♥Kraut
    June 15, 2005 at 1:06 am

    Anon,

    Thank you for a thoughtful and detailed post.

    I understand your points, believe me. In fact, you might be surprised to find that I lean more to the conservative side than the liberal side. But I am a Reagan Republican, not a Bushie.

    I think things through carefully. Initially, I wasn’t against the Patriot Act. It wasn’t until the details began to emerge that I grew alarmed.

    Title II just allows too many vagaries to crop up, with too many excuses that could be made to infringe on privacy rights. For instance, it “Amends the Federal criminal code to authorize the interception of wire, oral, and electronic communications for the production of evidence of … computer fraud and abuse.”

    How do you define what abuse might be? It could be anyone who is expressing an opinion that is counter to what the government wants expressed.

    Perhaps some of the P.A. is good, but we need to be careful to not throw caution to the winds and embrace all of it because some of it is helpful.

  14. 15 Anonymous
    June 15, 2005 at 12:59 pm

    Folks, here is a good link to check out the PA.

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?
    c107:4:./temp/~c107MPbgSX::

    Sauerkraut-I like your style. I like to consider myself an old-school republican as well. Interesting that Wolfowitz and Perle cut their Neo-con chops fightin against Kissinger’s interpretation of Bismarck’s Realpolitik. Makes you wonder if Bush belongs with the Republicans, or if he belongs back with Wilson–throwing U.S. troops all over Latin America the minute things looked more Latin than American (16 times in Nicaragua alone!)

    To another point–I keep posting Anon because I don’t feel like setting up a profile. Do I have to give out a lot of personal information to do it on this blog or can I do it relatively anonymously?

  15. 16 shadylayne
    June 15, 2005 at 9:34 pm

    Hey there. Nice to join your discussion!

    If I may add, it’s not just that people are uneducated and don’t understand the PATRIOT Act, it’s that they don’t want to. So many people are caught up in thetrivial stuff like who Tom Cruise is converting this week. Thinking about terrorism is just too much trouble. A lot of folks are just happy that something–anything–is being done, they won’t bother to question it.

  16. 17 Saur♥Kraut
    June 15, 2005 at 9:48 pm

    Anonymous,

    No, it’s very easy to post semi-anonymously and protect all your information. I have to. I have too many connections at stake. Just click on the blog icon and follow the instructions if you want to start your own blog.

    Or, if you simply want to take on a unique name of your own and post under it you have a couple choices. One is to click the Other button below and fill in the Name blank, and hit Publish Your Comment.

    Another is to do the same thing but also fill in the part that says Your Web Page. It doesn’t have to be anything that identifies you.

    If you do the first one, your name will come up black. If you do the second choice, it will come up blue (or if you’re registered and do your own blogging, it will be blue too).

  17. 18 Saur♥Kraut
    June 15, 2005 at 9:50 pm

    Oh, and by the way, Bush does not belong anywhere. He is neither Democrat nor Republican. My grandmother would have said tartly “He is neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring.” What that means exactly, I don’t know. ;o)

  18. 19 United We Lay
    June 16, 2005 at 1:58 am

    House Votes to Limit Patriot Act Rules

    By Andrew Taylor / Associated Press

    WASHINGTON – The House voted Wednesday to block the FBI and the Justice Department from using the anti-terror Patriot Act to search library and book store records, responding to complaints about potential invasion of privacy of innocent readers.

    Despite a veto threat from President Bush, lawmakers voted 238-187 to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that allows the government to investigate the reading habits of terror suspects.

    The vote reversed a narrow loss last year by lawmakers complaining about threats to privacy rights. They narrowed the proposal this year to permit the government to continue to seek out records of Internet use at libraries.

    The vote came as the House debated a $57.5 billion bill covering the departments of Commerce, Justice and State. The Senate has yet to act on the measure, and GOP leaders often drop provisions offensive to Bush during final negotiations.

    Congress is preparing to extend the Patriot Act, which was passed quickly in the emotional aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Then, Congress included a “sunset” provision under which 15 of the law’s provisions are to expire at the end of this year.

    Supporters of rolling back the library and bookstore provision said that the law gives the FBI too much leeway to go on “fishing expeditions” on people’s reading habits and that innocent people could get tagged as potential terrorists based on what they check out from a library.

    “If the government suspects someone is looking up how to make atom bombs, go to a court and get a search warrant,” said Jerold Nadler, D-N.Y.

    Supporters of the Patriot Act countered that the rules on reading records are a potentially useful tool in finding terrorists and argued that the House was voting to make libraries safe havens for them.

    “If there are terrorists in libraries studying how to fly planes, how to put together biological weapons, how to put together chemical weapons, nuclear weapons … we have to have an avenue through the federal court system so that we can stop the attack before it occurs,” said Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla.

    Last year, a similar provision was derailed by a 210-210 tie tally after several Republicans were pressured to switch their votes.

    In the meantime, a number of libraries have begun disposing of patrons’ records quickly so they won’t be available if sought under the law.

    Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Congress in April that the government has never used the provision to obtain library, bookstore, medical or gun sale records.

    But when asked whether the administration would agree to exclude library and medical records from the law, Gonzales demurred. “It should not be held against us that we have exercised restraint,” he said.

    Authorities have gained access to records through voluntary cooperation from librarians, Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller said.

  19. 20 Saur♥Kraut
    June 16, 2005 at 11:48 am

    Strange, I don’t know of any known terrorists who learned to make bombs or fly airplanes at the library. Do you? I know the 9/11 gang was trained in Florida by airplane schools. I know that they have terrorist camps overseas (Do they sing Kum Ba Ya at night over a campfire?)

    I don’t say that it is impossible for them to become terrorists by studying at the library, but it is improbable when they have so much access to so many other options.

    Truthfully, the type of terrorist that would use the library would be an independant American-born terrorist like Timothy McVeigh (if he didn’t have internet access). But although it’s conceivable, it would be the vast minority of cases. Do we really want to use that as a yardstick for national policy?

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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